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Intel Corp. has reportedly updated its long-term roadmap it discloses to high-ranking executives from its very close partners with its plans concerning microprocessor packaging and the future of desktop platforms. As it appears, the company decided not to aggressively push chips in BGA packages into the desktop market and eliminate upgradeability of the PC platforms. Instead, the company will continue to sell processors in LGA form-factor for the foreseeable future.

Nowadays, the majority of central processing units manufactured by Intel Corp. come in either land-grid array (LGA) or micro pin-grid array (µPGA) packages (which means that they can be plugged into appropriate mainboards or be changed) and are tailored for maximum performance on the micro-architecture level. Late last year it was reported that in a bid to lower the amount of similar chip models in various packages, Intel planned to either completely cease to make mainstream client chips in µPGA and LGA packages that allow interchangeability of microprocessors, or to dramatically reduce their amount sometimes in 2014, but concentrate on chips in BGA (ball-grid array) packaging that are soldered directly to mainboards and cannot be changed outside of manufacturing facilities.

According to unidentified sources from Taiwan-based mainboard manufacturers cited by DigiTimes web-site, Intel will retain LGA packaging for 95% of desktop central processing units until, at least, the first half of 2015, when the company rolls-out chips powered by code-named Skylake micro-architecture. There will be entry-level chips for desktops based on Broadwell and Skylake architectures in BGA packaging, just like there are various Atom and ultra-low-power chips in BGA form-factor today. Still the majority of mainstream desktop chips will come in LGA packaging, which allows interchangeability of chips for OEMs and upgradeability for the end-user.

BGA provides advantages to makers of high-performance tablets, ultra-thin notebooks as well as all-in-one desktops (such as Apple iMac, which still use LGA chips today) as ball grid array packaging ensure small footprint. However, when it comes to fully-fledged desktops, BGA means that system makers will have to keep a large amount of different mainboards with various features and dissimilar microprocessors in order to provide the right choices for their clients. Such stockpiling increases business risks to smaller makers and decreases abilities to differentiate for mainboard makers.

Previously it was also reported that for Intel it might become economically inefficient to test and package LGA, µPGA and BGA products for clients. While it is true that supporting three packages is more expensive than only one, it is hard to believe into economic inefficiency of Intel products, given its dominating position on the market of CPUs and keeping in mind the fact that its smaller rival AMD manages to be almost profitable selling chips in various form-factors.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Intel, Broadwell, 14nm, Haswell, Core, Skylake

Discussion

Comments currently: 21
Discussion started: 03/22/13 10:22:06 PM
Latest comment: 05/15/13 02:41:06 AM
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1. 
one of the smartest moves intel made.
4 1 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 03/22/13 10:22:06 PM]
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show the post
1 4 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 03/23/13 01:19:16 AM]
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You think it's "fanboyish" to expect an upgrade path for your desktop motherboard? It's good that Intel re-evaluated this decision. I don't think it has anything to do with fanboism when PC enthusiasts desire upgradeability and flexibility of motherboard+CPU (and resale of parts) choices of LGA setup.
1 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 03/23/13 11:55:33 PM]
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@BestJinjo - It's a good point. But never underestimate angry Intel fanboys.
1 2 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 03/24/13 01:56:36 AM]
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you better thank AMD for that, AMD is back in the game.
5 2 [Posted by: medo  | Date: 03/23/13 01:20:09 AM]
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2. 
one up for AMD!
3 2 [Posted by: dpa2007  | Date: 03/23/13 03:06:05 AM]
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3. 
each upgrade i made in the last two decades involved changing both CPU and motherboard so using a BGA or not it´s the same task to upgrade both of those two components.
4 5 [Posted by: idonotknow  | Date: 03/23/13 03:28:25 AM]
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Unlike you, there are users that purchased an AM3 motherboard and went a long way :

Dual Cores Athlon --> Quad Core Phenoms --> 6 core phenoms X2 --> and maybe AMD FX

in reality there is more generations i missed like sempron and maybe others, i dont know for sure people that upgraded to the 4 above, but i know for sure users that upgraded 3 cycles (Athlon, Phenom, Phenom X2)on the same motherboard, and man they WON big time.

Intel dipshits does not know that feeling, so typically they diss the LGA socket.

Please imagine the future haswell CPU was coket 1155 instead of 1150, and imagine how much easier for you to upgrade, instead of support Intel greedy plans.

I hated AMD for Liano socket FM1, and you should do the same with intel socket 1150, otherwise your just letting them rip you off and your happy and silent about it.
2 3 [Posted by: medo  | Date: 03/23/13 06:14:31 AM]
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So you payed for all those AMD chips when you could have bought one Intel chip that outperforms all of them once... who is saving money again?

Oh, and all those motherboards... where are the modern features like USB 3 and PCIe 3.0 that AMD doesn't provide natively. Do they sneak in at night and solder on the upgrades for free?
0 2 [Posted by: chuckula  | Date: 03/24/13 03:40:10 PM]
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Problem though with old socket supporting new cpu like AM2 socket being compatible with AM3+ cpu (just for argument sake). You put that cpu in and it gets bottlenecked cause the bus board supports is slower then what cpu can do. You get some performance boost but not as much as you should so in the end board upgrade is needed to get most outta the cpu.
0 0 [Posted by: arbiter9605  | Date: 03/31/13 11:42:23 PM]
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While it´s common to upgrade both at the same time, that isn´t the whole issue... If cpu come preattached to motherboard, it will be extremely much harder for stores to keep a supply of the stuff that people wants to buy.

And getting "unusual" configurations, like someone wanting a highend motherboard with a mid or lowend cpu, that will be troublesome (or even impossible) simply because not many buy combinations like that.
4 0 [Posted by: DIREWOLF75  | Date: 03/23/13 07:38:44 AM]
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Also a failing MB also takes out a perfectly good CPU

3 0 [Posted by: Stickmansam  | Date: 03/23/13 08:59:04 AM]
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4. 
Sigh.... THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE OF PLANS BECAUSE THIS WAS THE PLAN THE WHOLE TIME!

Go back to the very first Mostly-Inaccurate posts about Intel supposedly abandoning the socket. I won't link it because they don't deserve the ad-revenue. Basically, the story was:

INTEL HAS ABANDONED SOCKETS!!*

*Oh, actually Intel isn't abandoning the socket and Sky Lake will have a socket, and so will Haswell, and so will Broadwell except for a couple of models of Broadwell that will be BGA... BUT IF ONE CHIP IS BGA IT MEANS THAT UPGRADEABILITY IS DESTROYED FOREVARS!!!

So... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAS CHANGED except for fanboys who misinterpreted third-hand rumors and got their panties in a bind.... This story is just the latest in the long series of non-stories related to this completely manufactured "disaster".
3 1 [Posted by: chuckula  | Date: 03/23/13 01:47:19 PM]
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This. Someone probably got confused about the mobile variants being bga and then news sites circle jerked it into a story.
2 0 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 03/23/13 11:06:41 PM]
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5. 
this reminds me of when intel came out with BTX and how that was suppose to be the future of form factors. Hmm and where is BTX now?
2 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 03/23/13 08:14:38 PM]
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About as popular as DTX, which AMD came out with and that was supposed to be the future of form factors....
0 2 [Posted by: chuckula  | Date: 03/24/13 03:29:35 PM]
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That's wrong. DTX wasn't a replacement for ATX motherboards. DTX, is built on the same interface specifications as ATX. DTX was designed to be fitted inside very small pc form factors that were too small house uATX form factors and are still being produced for those types of small form factors today. So you are way off the mark.
1 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 03/25/13 04:47:07 AM]
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BTX wasn't a bad idea IMO. It just didn't catch on.
0 0 [Posted by: Joe Public  | Date: 05/15/13 02:41:06 AM]
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6. 
Good for them but mostly good for us.

I want to be able to customize my builds to make the best possible system for my money, and I'm definitely not the only one out there.

0 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 03/24/13 05:11:26 AM]
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7. 
That Intel, they sure have their road map sorted out and their finger on the pulse of their customer's desires... or NOT!
1 0 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 03/24/13 09:07:02 PM]
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8. 
the real story is 2.5G integration of cpu+dram on interposers. doesn't rule out sockets at all, but that's much too subtle for the attention-challenged online media...
0 0 [Posted by: markhahn  | Date: 03/25/13 08:35:10 PM]
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